With the title on the line between Chastain, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott and Joey Logano, Knaus was asked to reflect on what happened on Sunday on FOX’s RaceHub show Wednesday night.
“Obviously intentional, I’ll have to think about it,” said Knaus, who is also vice president of competition at Hendrick Motorsports. “I was sitting right in the middle between turns 3 and 4 in the pit of the 5th car and when you watch the race you kind of get what’s going on around you and suddenly this car comes along and I know it Not. I do not know what happens. I think something really, really bad is going on because this car is coming way too fast.
“Of course I jump up and Cliff Daniels [Kyle Larson’s crew chief] and I look at each other and then we both looked at the gate – we immediately thought this guy is going to look like you in Bristol [pointing to co-guest Michael Waltrip, who survived a horror crash there in 1990] when this gate opens. I was really worried about that.
“It’s spectacular, necessary, I understand it worked and he made it… I don’t know how I feel deep in my heart about it to be honest with you. I think it’s a good one-time thing. I don’t think the industry has to experience something like this all the time. I think that could be a problem, right? But we’ll see what happens.”
When asked if the move could be repeated at Phoenix this weekend, Knaus replied: “I think you could absolutely do it at Phoenix. I think the track lends itself to that, again, you go into those corners, you’re going to lift, you can engage and try, yeah. I don’t like that, I don’t think it’s a good thing.”
Chad Knaus, Hendrick Motorsports
Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
Knaus also highlighted some of the safety implications of using this tactic, which NASCAR has confirmed will not be banned — at least in the short term.
“I think there are a couple of nudges that I think could go wrong,” he said. “For example, I’ve seen cars getting hit on the right side and climbing up the wall. So what happens when you go for it and climb the wall and scuttle into the stands?
“There’s a lot of security issues, what if you hit that access gate? What if you bounce off that wall into someone else?
“A lot of bad things can happen with that. But the way the game is now, it’s a Hail Mary move and it’s there and it’s legal.
Waltrip pointed out that the warning flag was not thrown at Martinsville, which would result in the field being frozen in the final time loop.
Knaus said: “It all happened so fast in Martinsville, honestly that should have happened as soon as he hit the wall at Turn 3, they should have put the warning flag up. But they were just as in awe as everyone else, right?
“But in Phoenix the track is much wider and you enter Turn 3 much further from the start/finish line. If someone jumps up there, they could very easily throw the warning flag.
“I really hate that we’re in this position and NASCAR is in this position. If there’s anyone out there who doesn’t like rules, it’s me. I hate putting NASCAR in a position of judgment. I do not know what happens [next]we’ll just have to wait and see.”